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Origin: Mister Bojangles

DigiTrad:
GYPSY SONG MAN
MR BOJANGLES
MY OLD MAN 3
NIGHT RIDER'S LAMENT (WHY DO YOU RIDE FOR YOUR MONEY?)


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lesblank 28 Dec 00 - 08:53 PM
GUEST,Sarah 28 Dec 00 - 09:47 PM
Midchuck 29 Dec 00 - 12:20 PM
Genie 03 Feb 02 - 12:49 AM
DonMeixner 03 Feb 02 - 02:03 AM
Suffet 03 Feb 02 - 08:20 AM
Genie 03 Feb 02 - 09:52 PM
C-flat 17 Feb 02 - 04:41 AM
GUEST,MCP 17 Feb 02 - 05:44 AM
C-flat 17 Feb 02 - 05:48 AM
Mr Red 17 Feb 02 - 06:22 AM
GUEST,Lionel 17 Feb 02 - 06:46 AM
GUEST,MCP 17 Feb 02 - 01:35 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 17 Feb 02 - 02:41 PM
Gary T 17 Feb 02 - 03:22 PM
C-flat 17 Feb 02 - 05:09 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 17 Feb 02 - 06:29 PM
Justa Picker 17 Feb 02 - 06:45 PM
Gary T 17 Feb 02 - 11:29 PM
pdq 03 Jul 07 - 02:41 PM
PoppaGator 03 Jul 07 - 03:04 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 23 Aug 08 - 01:12 PM
pdq 23 Aug 08 - 01:57 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 23 Aug 08 - 02:05 PM
open mike 24 Aug 08 - 01:52 PM
Nigel Parsons 24 Aug 08 - 08:44 PM
Peace 24 Aug 08 - 09:02 PM
Nigel Parsons 24 Aug 08 - 09:05 PM
Leadfingers 25 Aug 08 - 03:04 PM
GUEST,Someone 23 Oct 08 - 05:22 PM
GUEST,Jim 23 Oct 08 - 07:19 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 23 Oct 08 - 07:41 PM
GUEST,Jim 24 Oct 08 - 01:16 PM
GUEST,someone 30 Oct 08 - 04:30 AM
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Subject: RE: Mr Bojangles
From: lesblank
Date: 28 Dec 00 - 08:53 PM

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band recorded the song after another great Texas musician by the name of Allan Wayne Damron, who was the first. Check Allan's website for more information. BTW, great to be back on the Mudcat again. It's been a long hard year, but I can finally pluck a few chords or two - perhaps by June I can work in a melody note or two !! I can sure see that Joe Offer is alive and kicking.


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Subject: RE: Mr Bojangles
From: GUEST,Sarah
Date: 28 Dec 00 - 09:47 PM

To note: JJW released his own 45 the same year Allen did, but his recording was done in NYC, and it took longer for him to get it out of the studio, so Allen's WAS first.

I remember, 'cause Jerry Jeff was performing at Sand Mountain Coffee House in Houston, where I worked on weekends. The owner ("Mama C") and I had just arrived to open when Jerry Jeff came in with the first box of them he'd received. She snagged the first one, and I snagged the second.

I still have it here somewhere -- but I'm sure that was the year, as I was still in high school...

Sarah


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Subject: RE: Mr Bojangles
From: Midchuck
Date: 29 Dec 00 - 12:20 PM

Bromberg's recording is the one to have, though. The guitar break...You have Doc's original "Black Mountain Rag" on his first Vanguard album; you have John Herald's intro to Ian and Sylvia's "Four Rode By," on the "Northern Journey" album; you have Clarence's "Sheik of Araby;" you have Norman's break on Steve Earle's "Tom Ames' Prayer" on the "Train A'Comin" album...and Bromberg's break on his own "Bojangles." Then you've heard everything really important.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Mr Bojangles
From: Genie
Date: 03 Feb 02 - 12:49 AM

Does anyone know if this song was written about Bill "Bojangles" Robinson or about some other guy who was sort of nicknamed for him because he danced?

I had always assumed it was the latter-- a down and out guy who tap danced and, so, folks called him "Bojangles." But someone told me that Jerry Jeff met Bill Robinson in jail and wrote the song about him.

Anyone have the real story?

Genie


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Subject: RE: Mr Bojangles
From: DonMeixner
Date: 03 Feb 02 - 02:03 AM

My understanding is its about an old black man he met who was a dancer. Every Black man in the south who could dance was called Bojangles after Bill Robinson. I believe he told me that it was not Bill Robinson but someone else.


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Subject: RE: Mr Bojangles
From: Suffet
Date: 03 Feb 02 - 08:20 AM

I heard Jerry Jeff Walker himself say the song is not about Bill Robinson. Walker spent a night in the New Orleans city jail on a charge of being drunk and disorderly. According to David Bromberg, who later toured with Walker, "Jerry Jeff propositioned the right woman, at the right time, in the wrong place. And her husband, the bar tender, called the cops." It was in jail that Walker met the character about whom he would later write Mr. Bojangles, an old dancer who was sharing the same abode for the evening "because I drinks a bits."

--- Steve


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Subject: RE: Mr Bojangles
From: Genie
Date: 03 Feb 02 - 09:52 PM

Don and Suffet, that's what I thought, too. I was not under the impression that Bill Robinson was ever on the streets and in jail.
Thanks for clearing this up.
BTW, does anyone know when Bill Robinson was born (how old he would have been in the mid 1960's)?
Genie


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Subject: Mister Bojangles
From: C-flat
Date: 17 Feb 02 - 04:41 AM

Does anyone know the origins of this song.I'm given to believe there was such a person.You could help me settle an argument and look like a smartass!


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Subject: RE: Mister Bojangles
From: GUEST,MCP
Date: 17 Feb 02 - 05:44 AM

This was discussed very recently in the thread Mister Bojangles. (Briefly, I think it was based on a real person, but the person was not the famous Bojangles Robinson, but see that thread).

If you type "Bojangles" into the nice Digitrad and Forum Search box on the threads page you'll find a lot of threads referencing the song.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Mister Bojangles
From: C-flat
Date: 17 Feb 02 - 05:48 AM

Thanks Mick.Missed that thread!


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Subject: RE: Mister Bojangles
From: Mr Red
Date: 17 Feb 02 - 06:22 AM

Presumeably Shirley Temple's dancing partner took his appllation from the song/legend.
BTW FWIW there is an Indian Restaurant in the Town of Shirley (nr B'ham) called (you guessed it) Shirley Temple! Honest! It was a Chinese restuarant 30 years ago.


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Subject: RE: Mister Bojangles
From: GUEST,Lionel
Date: 17 Feb 02 - 06:46 AM

Mr Red - I'am pretty certain that the restaurant is still open for business.


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Subject: RE: Mister Bojangles
From: GUEST,MCP
Date: 17 Feb 02 - 01:35 PM

Mr. Red - I think it was the other way around - Bill Robinson long predated the song, which is fairly recent. I believe he lent his name to other black dancers (also Fred Astaire's only blackface routine was "Bojangles of Harlem" in Swing Time

Mick


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Subject: RE: Mister Bojangles
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 17 Feb 02 - 02:41 PM

A biography of Bill (Bojangles) Robinson has been published by Jim Haskins and N. R. Mitgang, "Mr Bojangles." Pictures and an audio biography are available Here and then click on main menu.


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Subject: RE: Mister Bojangles
From: Gary T
Date: 17 Feb 02 - 03:22 PM

From the thread linked by MCP. This is what I'd always heard:

Does anyone know if this song was written about Bill "Bojangles" Robinson or about some other guy who was sort of nicknamed for him because he danced? I had always assumed it was the latter--a down and out guy who tap danced and, so, folks called him "Bojangles." But someone told me that Jerry Jeff met Bill Robinson in jail and wrote the song about him. (Posted by Genie.)

I heard Jerry Jeff Walker himself say the song is not about Bill Robinson. Walker spent a night in the New Orleans city jail on a charge of being drunk and disorderly....It was in jail that Walker met the character about whom he would later write Mr. Bojangles, an old dancer who was sharing the same abode for the evening "because I drinks a bits." (Posted by Suffet.) __________

To sum up and clarify: There was indeed a "Mr. Bojangles"--dancer Bill Robinson, who among other things appeared in four films with Shirley Temple. The song, however, was not about him but about another dancer whom some called Bojangles, presumably because he too was a black man who danced. It looks to me, C-flat, like you win and get to be an offical smartass.


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Subject: RE: Mister Bojangles
From: C-flat
Date: 17 Feb 02 - 05:09 PM

Thanks Gary-T,that gives me a warm glow all over.Or is it my incontinence pants need changing?


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Subject: RE: Mister Bojangles
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 17 Feb 02 - 06:29 PM

Bill Robinson, born Luther Robinson in 1879, got the nickname "Bojangles" in childhood according to himself (article in Richmond, VA, Times-Dispatch). He began dancing age 7 and ran away to Washington age nine with a black actor, to act as a piccaninny in a stage show.
There is disagreement over what the nickname meant ("happy-go-lucky" or "squabler")- Theater Arts. The name could come from a Mr Boujasson, who sold hats. Robinson stole a hat from him. The nickname was in use when he starred in "Blackbirds of 1928.
Jerry Jeff Walker- who he?


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Subject: RE: Mister Bojangles
From: Justa Picker
Date: 17 Feb 02 - 06:45 PM

Jerry Jeff Walker bio.


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Subject: RE: Mister Bojangles
From: Gary T
Date: 17 Feb 02 - 11:29 PM

I'm sure it's in the bio linked by Justa Picker, but Jerry Jeff Walker wrote the song "Mr. Bojangles."


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Subject: RE: Mr Bojangles
From: pdq
Date: 03 Jul 07 - 02:41 PM

...in answer to a question above...

Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, dancer and movie star ~

Born: May 25, 1878 in Richmond, VA
Died: Nov 25, 1949 in New York, NY


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Subject: RE: Mr Bojangles
From: PoppaGator
Date: 03 Jul 07 - 03:04 PM

I haven't played this in years, but it was one of my "greatest hits" as a street performer in the late 60s/early 70s. Thanks for the reminder; I just might work it up again. (I played it in C, just like Jed-at-work, with the same descending bass line, etc.)

It may not be correct to assume that the nickname "Bojangles" originated with the famous Bill Robinson. I think it's just as likely that he adopted an already-well-established "folk" nickname for any skilled tapdancer ~ not that all street dancers to appear after Mr. Robinson had established himself in Hollywood were necessarily named after him.

Any of you scholars out there have a pre-1930s citation of the nickname "Bojangles" or "Mr. Bojangles"? I have a hunch there might be some, indicating that Bill Robinson (or his agant) did not make up the name, that he simply popularized a pre-existing sobriquet.


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Subject: Origins: Bojangles
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 23 Aug 08 - 01:12 PM

I caught the end of this program on BBC Radio 4 today about Bojangles Robinson and his relation/non-relation to the song. Some interesting interviews. The programme (1/2 hr) is available on the BBC iPlayer until next Saturday morning: The Man Who Was Bojangles.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bojangles
From: pdq
Date: 23 Aug 08 - 01:57 PM

The man that Jerry Jeff Walker met in a cell in New Orleans was a street enterainer who drank as much as he could afford. He was not the real "Bojangles" Robinson, who was reasonably conservative and a family man, as I understand. Shirley Temple worked with the real Bojangles in a movie or two in the 1930s.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bojangles
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 23 Aug 08 - 02:05 PM

The programme and JJW himself in interviews make that clear (and I think it's been discussed here previously too; JJW makes the point that when he was in the gaol it was segregated, so the man he was with was obviously white). Others interviewed in the programme were no so happy about the association people make from the song to the more famous, and as you say rather more salubrious, Bojangles Robinson.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bojangles
From: open mike
Date: 24 Aug 08 - 01:52 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_%22Bojangles%22_Robinson
http://www.jerryjeff.com/


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bojangles
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 24 Aug 08 - 08:44 PM

Those links:
Bill Robinson
Jerry Jeff Walker

Nigel
(link maker to the masses!)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bojangles
From: Peace
Date: 24 Aug 08 - 09:02 PM

Catholic or Protestant?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bojangles
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 24 Aug 08 - 09:05 PM

Both! I'm an Anglican Catholic.

pax vobiscum, Pax


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bojangles
From: Leadfingers
Date: 25 Aug 08 - 03:04 PM

I've only been singing Mister Bojangles since 1973 , and never thought it had much to do with the guy who taught Shirley Temple to Tap ! Its still a bloody good song though .


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Subject: RE: Mister Bojangles
From: GUEST,Someone
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 05:22 PM

Does anyone know where the 1 1/2 minute audio intro to the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band come from? If the song isn't about a more-or-less famous person, how or more appropriately, why, would anyone record that.
Not that I'm any sort of expert but it doesn't sound to me like it's an actor. And it also sounds like there's definately someone else in the room who is being addressed by the possible "Bojangles". It also sounds like there might be a cut, or and edit, in the recording.
He talks about his dog and the dog is also part of the audio. Of course I don't need to point out the lyrics about the guys dog.
I think that's all.


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Subject: RE: Mister Bojangles
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 07:19 PM

The character on the Dirt Band record is a guy who goes by Uncle Charlie, who did record some songs on 78. The original record by the NGDB was called UNCLE CHARLIE AND HIS DOG TEDDY. Probably they went to visit him, made the recording and thought it was a good intro to Jerry Jeff's song Mr. Bojangles. I agree with them.

By the way, has anyone noticed that the Dirt Band's version of Mr. Bojangles changed,"...and he spoke right out" to "...and the smoke ran out"? I saw them play the song a couple of years ago and they now use Jerry Jeff's original lyrics.


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Subject: RE: Mister Bojangles
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 07:41 PM

There was a programme on the BBC radio not that long ago about the song and the NGDB explained that smoke ran out.. that they sang was caused by them misunderstanding the recording when they first heard it, and in those times...


Mick


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Subject: RE: Mister Bojangles
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 24 Oct 08 - 01:16 PM

Is that called a mondegreen?(sp?)


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Subject: RE: Mister Bojangles
From: GUEST,someone
Date: 30 Oct 08 - 04:30 AM

Thank you guest Jim. Does anyone know if the person that Jerry Jeff Walker actually wrote the song about, had a dog?
Everytime I really think about this tune it gives me the shivers. It's like you're there. Don't short-change me, I listen to Jim Croce, Harry Chapin, Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Neil Diamond, Gordon Lightfoot, Johnny Cash, Tom Petty, to name a few. So I know all about great song writing:

"I woke up Sunday morning
With no way to hold my head that didn't hurt"

"One time I saw my daddy dance
Watched him movin' like a man in a trance
He brought it back from the war in France"

"You were tryin' to make me a martyr
And that's the one thing I just couldn't do"

But the deeply personal motivating feeling of this song is that it makes me feel like at that very moment in time, in that jail cell, one of the most important events of that day in history was taking place. I know that sounds a bit dramatic and in truth it's not entirely accurate, but when I really start feeling the feeling, the words quickly stop coming.
To me the most emotional part of the song is the line "I met him in a cell in New Orleans (Or "Nawlens", to the people of that fine state" I was down and out. Can't really explain that one either. But I do feel as though my absence from that jail cell that night, unjustly took away an opportunity for me to have one of the most......

The best way that I can put it is by saying that if I was ever granted three wishes, one of them would be to be in that jail cell that night.................DAMN RIGHT

"Honesty is my only exscuse"

"I just don't seem to can't lose"


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